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Food Safety at Home

Just follow four basic rules—Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill—and you will Fight BAC!®(bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.) Fight BAC!® is a national education campaign designed to teach everyone about food safety. Keep these Fight BAC!® rules in mind.Tell your friends and family and grandchildren to join the team and get them to be “BAC-Fighters” too.

#1 Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often

Bacteria can be present throughout the kitchen, including on cutting boards, utensils, sponges and counter tops. Here’s how to Fight BAC!®

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers and handling pets.
  • Wash your cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with hot water and soap after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next food. Periodically, kitchen sanitizers (including a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water) can be used for added protection.
  • Once cutting boards (including plastic, non-porous, acrylic and wooden boards) become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, you should replace them.
  • Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  • Also Important: Rinse raw produce in water. Don’t use soap or other detergents. If necessary — and appropriate — use a small vegetable brush to remove surface dirt.

#2 Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate

Cross-contamination is the scientific word for how bacteria can be spread from one food product to another. This is especially true when handling raw meat, poultry and seafood, so keep these foods and their juices away from foods that aren’t going to be cooked. Here’s how to Fight BAC!®

  • Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods in your grocery-shopping cart and in your refrigerator.
  • If possible, use a different cutting board for raw meat, poultry and seafood products.
  • Always wash cutting boards, dishes and utensils with hot soapy water after they come in contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and unwashed fresh produce.
  • Place cooked food on a clean plate. If you put cooked food on the unwashed plate that held raw food (like meat, poultry or seafood), bacteria from the raw food could contaminate your cooked food.

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